The Sokpop Collective is one of the most interesting things going on in the indie gaming scene right now. For the last three years, the team has been releasing two new games every month, with titles that cover everything from volcano-based pinball to swamp exploration. The games are simple, fun, and you consistently get access to new titles through a $3 per month subscription on Patreon.
This model not only ensures you’ll always have something new to look forward to, but is a unique and interesting way to support a small independent development team.
What Is Sokpop?
Sokpop is a group of four Netherland-based game developers whose first game, Bamboo EP, was released back in 2016. This collection of smaller, bamboo-themed games was a sign of things to come, as in 2017, they began a Patreon where you could give them $3 a month in exchange for two new games.
When you sign up to the Patreon, you receive the two latest games Sokpop has released and anything released afterward. Once a new game is released, you can visit Sokpop’s website to redeem the games either through Steam or itch.io. (The Steam release takes a bit longer to come out than itch.io.) You can also find all of Sokpop’s past games available for purchase on Steam and itch.io, so if you want to check out some of the older monthly titles, you can do so.
It’s a unique concept, and it’s been moving along smoothly for the past three years, with the Sokpop Collective releasing over 70 games at the time of writing. The team has said that this unorthodox release and payment model is used to support themselves in creating larger projects, such as games like Simmiland. However, that doesn’t mean you’re getting table scraps with the Patreon—a lot of work is put into making the monthly games simple but still great.
So Many Games
So a lot of games have been released through the Patreon, but what are the games actually about? In a word: Anything. Everything? Nearly every release focuses on a new genre ranging from racing games to a top-down action RPG. The mysterious nature of the games is one of the best parts about Sokpop, because no matter what the new game is like, the team somehow always manages to make something unique and, more importantly, fun.
Generally speaking, you’re given little info when you first boot up each game. There are rarely tutorials or instructions given (outside of the occasional button prompt), you’re usually just plopped into the world and have to figure out things for yourself. But the simplistic nature of Sokpop’s titles means this is never an issue, and discovering the unique quirks of each title is a large part of the fun for me. The games are meant to be played in a single sitting with a runtime ranging anywhere from 30-60 minutes broadly speaking.
I think one of the more impressive parts of these games is that none of them are visually subpar. All the games tend to use similar art styles, and while they’re simplistic, there is an undeniable charm to both the stylistic choices and world designs. I wind up adoring the style of most (if not all) the games Sokpop releases, and the simplistic art style also means these games will be light on your computer performance-wise—you won’t even need to have a dedicated graphics card.
What Are Some of the Games Like?
It’s all well and good to talk about the general design of Sokpop’s releases, but let’s look at some specific examples. If you were to subscribe to the Sokpop Collective’s Patreon right now, you would receive two games: vissekom and n-body. So, let’s look at these two titles and get a taste of what Sokpop is all about.
The most recent game, vissekom, is an idle game where you take care of and watch over a fish in a bowl. It’s made to be left open in the background, which lets rewards trickle in overtime and lets you listen to the great background music. You receive little candies and other food items to level up your fish and improve the bowl over time.
On the other hand, n-body is a celestial golfing experience where you fight the force of gravity to get your golf balls where they need to go. You have a limited number of shots available with restocks available throughout the map. Your goal is to connect the dots between stars and create constellations, with the game remarking on each formation you manage to finish. The gravity mechanic is refined, and you can pull off plenty of cool trick shots while building your night sky.
And those two are only scratching the surface. If you decide to look back at Sokpop’s older catalog you’ll see loads more great titles. Fishy 3D is a puzzle adventure game where you must traverse the world as a fish, Grey Scout is a great stealth adventure, and Flipper Volcano sees you playing pinball in the heart of a volcano. No matter what, the games never stop being fun, unique, or interesting.
Time to Play
To reiterate, you can play Sokpop’s games in two main methods—either by signing up on the Patreon and receiving games as they release (redeemable on both Steam and itch.io), or you can purchase Sokpop’s older titles directly. There are even large bundles full of all of Sokpop’s games, and ones with a smaller collection of titles if you want a more convenient and cost-effective way of visiting the older games.
In short, the Sokpop Collective is one of the most interesting things happening in the world of indie games right now. The balance of variety and quality on display is unmatched anywhere else in the games industry, especially when you consider the release schedule. If, like me, you love smaller, experimental titles, or just want a way to kill some time every month, then these games are fantastic. And the low cost means you’re risking very little by signing up and giving it a try.
If you want to give Sokpop a chance, you can jump straight to the Patreon, the already released games, and the webpage where you’ll actually redeem the games from the Patreon. You can also follow the developers on Twitter and YouTube to view updates on things and see trailers for new games respectively—they even made this cool time-lapse video about the previously mentioned vissekom.
Two quality indie titles available for three dollars a month on Patreon.